Statement from UMass President Marty Meehan on the passing of Daniel Ellsberg

UMass President Marty Meehan issued the following statement on the passing of Daniel Ellsberg, who was a recent recipient of a UMass Amherst honorary degree and whose papers are housed at UMass Amherst:

“Earlier this year, it was my privilege to join Chancellor Subbaswamy as UMass Amherst awarded an honorary doctorate to the great Daniel Ellsberg. Today, the University of Massachusetts joins with so many others in mourning the passing of the man who risked everything to spread the truth. 

“An economist, defense analyst and Vietnam combat veteran, Doctor Ellsberg came to see that the American people had been lied to about the War in Vietnam – about what had been achieved and whether there was an actual path to victory.

“Wanting to save lives and end this massive deception, Ellsberg, at enormous personal risk, made it possible for the news media to tell the story that had been hidden away in the Pentagon Papers. He changed the way that many people thought about the War in Vietnam -- and about the leaders who saw truth as their greatest enemy. 

“For people of all ages but particularly for people of my generation, Daniel Ellsberg is and will always be a hero. We are honored to hold Doctor Ellsberg’s papers at UMass Amherst and will continuing to shine a light on his inspirational and enduring work. 

“Daniel Ellsberg risked his life to save the lives of others. He is a true American patriot and hero.”